Campo-Formio - Spooky Fools

Owain Paciuszko 13/01/2011

Rating: 5/5

Duende's rat-a-tatting drums and arch-Pixies-esque riffage are a perfectly delicious introduction to this playful, self-effacing band from Puerto Rico; the track begins spiky and full of life before lurching, Sonic Youth-like, into stunted huge slobbery punctuation marks of guitar, bass and drums. This trio perform gloriously together, a knowing, wry sense of humour enveloped in their music as much as it rocks. This track inparticular going on a number of pleasingly demented and toe-tapping tangents, shifting tempo with disorientatingly danceable abandon, as Diego Bernal's drumming adopts the immediacey of a 70s car chase and Ricardo Perez's bass grumbles eagerly behind. When Fernando Quintero's vocals enter the mix they're a beserk combination of Jane's Addiction and Pavement, sometimes burbled from the depths of Hell, occasionally barked and squawked with indie-hero abandon.

After this epic journey, second track Orgasmo Pixelado is a psych-dirge plunge into a nightmare, with Quintero spitting on vocals aggressively over a looping guitar line, before everything turns a bit The Beatles gone awry with a dizzy Carousel-like guitar line off-set by breakneck drumming that tumbles into a woozy ballad. It's raucous and stuffed full of so much imagination, ending Side A on a pulse-pounding frenzy that could cause fits.

Side B begins with Soundcheck; an expanding wail of vocals, accompanied by an instant reboot of tempo picking up where Side A left off; you can feel the energy of the band so vividly you can practically feel their sweat! Once that brief track is done and dusted the kooky The Xibalba Dance Proposal opens with melodious and retro keyboards, it has a strange sense of positivity and joy oozing from every note, which is contrasted nicely by the grumbling bass and drums. It shifts into a near anthemic and optimistic little ditty that blasts off into hi-speed punky bursts, winding up sounding like the theme music to The Legend of Zelda through a twisted filter.

Campo-Formio are stuffed with creativity and vitality and this is palpable on record, constantly pushing and pulling themselves in a variety of directions, this record is a consistent treat from beginning to end, leaving you desperate for more.

You can order this fantastic, anarchic, transparent 'gold' vinyl EP from:

P.S. First time around I listened to the first side of the album at the wrong speed (33rpm) and it still sounded great, that's how good this band are!